A family in California have filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, alleging their toddler drank a beverage that was contaminated with blood.
The incident occurred during a Feb. 6, 2016, trip to the popular coffee shop. Amanda and Louis Vice, their then 2-year-old daughter and Louis’ mother ordered drinks and took them home. As they were drinking their beverages, they saw a red smear on two of the Starbucks cups.
“Once we drank it, then we could see on the inside of the rim that there was blood,” Amanda said. She added that her daughter was licking the lid and eating whipped cream from inside the cup.
The family called Starbucks and were told that an employee was bleeding, but was removed from the sales floor. The company said they would have the employee get a blood test, but never followed through. They also offered the family free drinks for a week.
“I thought it was sort of belittling,” Amanda said.
The family was worried that their daughter or Louis’ mother could become ill if the employee had any diseases communicable by the blood.
The family had to get blood tests soon after the incident to ensure they didn’t contract HIV or other disease. Their initial results were negative, but they had to get tested again six months later, which caused a lot of stress.
“We felt sick to our stomachs,” Amanda said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about going to get something to drink and there being blood in our drink where we could get sick.”
Their lawyer, San Pekler, started negotiating with Starbucks for a fair resolution, but the company only offered each family member $1,000.
“This does not begin to compensate the family for suffered injuries and damages for which Starbucks is liable,” Pekler said in a news release. “Immediately upon learning they had consumed beverages that contained human blood, the family experienced suffering, as well as feelings of anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and shame. They endured additional distress because Starbucks seemed to not care about their well-being and refused to direct the employee to undergo a blood test to ensure the family’s safety.”
The family seeks a variety of damages in this lawsuit, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, negligent hiring and negligent training and supervision.
Starbucks said that they are aware of the lawsuit and prepared to present their case in court.